3rd September 2022

[York Minster case and nave console]

The annual Diocesan Organ Advisers’ Residential Conference is always an enjoyable event with which to end the summer holidays, falling as it does on the week of the August Bank Holiday.  After two years in abeyance, the conference this year was particularly memorable, being York based, and centred on the two significant recent organ projects there – the Minster and St Lawrence church.  Andrew Caskie (of Nicholson & Co) gave a fine presentation (including sound files) about his firm’s scrupulous restoration of the Denman organ they moved there from St Mary le Belfrey, whilst Andrew Scott (starting that very day as Managing Director of Harrison & Harrison) held us fascinated by his account of the Herculean H&H rebuild in York Minster.  A visit to St Lawrence was frustrated by last minute problems with the church, but our evening visit to the Minster will long remain in the minds and ears of all DOAs present.  Dr William McVicker spoke about the British neo-classical organ movement in the Lyons Concert Hall at York University, also playing the ground-breaking Grant, Degens and Bradbeer there, and we also had case studies of the organs at St Helen and St Denys.  The York DOA, Dr Maximillian Elliott, gave three fascinating talks about the organ-builders of York, based on his PhD thesis; hearty thanks are owed to him and to Conference Secretary David Cain for all the hard work it took to pull this conference together.  Portsmouth next year – St Mary’s Portsea will be a great attraction for us there.

York University Grant Degens & Bradbeer organ (1968)